image E. D. Kain writing on certainty and doubt in The League of Ordinary Gentlemen is not talking about the Shroud of Turin, or Christianity or religion. He is talking about politics. But the words seem to fit the subject. Why are we trying to figure this thing out?

I think doubt is a much maligned, much misunderstood thing; perhaps because people never really embrace it, never really try to understand why it might be – in and of itself – a positive force, but instead find ways to extinguish it utterly. Doubt is cast in our society as a malfunction, something to overcome, something broken. I don’t see it that way anymore. Yes, some people become mired in it, become paralyzed by indecision – there are reasons we have phrases like “wracked with doubt” or “mired in doubt” and so on and so forth. But doubt is not the same thing as uncertainty. “Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again.”

Certainty is an alluring trap; the temptation of intellectual or spiritual closure pulls us under, riptide-like, into its soporific current. A release from our uncertainty is a powerful tonic.

And if the Shroud of Turin is real — no doubt, complete certainty — of what then are we certain without doubt? On Certainty & Doubt